Common Relationship Issues
Relationship counselling at Footscray and Mill Park
Relationships are often our most significant ventures in life. Our love, belongingness, intimacy, connectivity and many different feelings and emotions bind us to one another. Yet, all relationships have ups and downs, and there are times we feel we have drifted apart. It’s natural and it happens. Sometimes relationships get complicated, and although we may love someone deeply, its also very normal to experience frustration and even anger towards them. There are, however, some excellent strategies we can adopt during these difficult times.
Following are few relationship issues that we need to work on:
Communication isn’t always easy at the best of times. Not surprisingly, this is one area people tend to struggle with in almost all relationships and friendships. Often the most difficult part of communication is actually hearing what someone is saying – not necessarily the words they are using, but the intentions and meanings they convey. We’re also often distracted when someone is speaking to us, either by the television, or our phones, or even distracted by our own thoughts.
It is important to listen and to be heard in return. A simple way of engaging in meaningful conversation is to remove the things that are most likely to distract us. This can be as simple as turning the TV off, or putting the phone down on the table. You can set a specific time when you choose to remove these distractions and talk, and even decide who speaks first and how you present your points in front of each other.
We don’t always agree with one another in our relationships, and it is perfectly normal to have disagreements from time to time. When disagreements arise, it is important that you respect your partner’s position, and allow for a healthy, positive discussion about your thoughts and feelings on the issue. Although sometimes difficult, it is possible to express yourself in a way that allows your partner to understand you, so that both of you can appreciate each others point of view. It is also important to remember that your partner has a right to be heard and understood, so be sure to allow them space to convey their feelings. When discussing difficult topics, it can be helpful to start with “I feel”, so that you’re not laying blame, but rather expressing your perspective in a respectful way.
Our day-to-day lives are becoming increasingly busy. With only a limited number of hours in each week, we often start filling those hours spent with our partners with work. This often leads to unspoken negative feelings, and often resentment or neglect. While work and other important tasks are a priority for everyone, it is important to remember your relationship is also a priority and is important. Schedule some quality time together doing something you both enjoy. Perhaps that involves going out for dinner during the week, or going for a walk together on the weekend. Whatever you decide to do together, make your relationship your number 1 priority during your time together.
Trust is an issue that frequently comes up between partners. Trust doesn’t come naturally, and needs to be worked on together. People often build up barriers, and can be naturally cynical and less likely to trust others – this is especially true for those who have been hurt in previous relationships. These barriers are a protective mechanism, and it is important to remember that they are likely not there because of something you have done, but rather something that may have happened before your partner met you. If you feel that you don’t have complete trust in your partner, it is important to discuss this openly with them, and consider previous events that may have lead you to this point. Sometimes all we need to build trust in someone is a bit of reassurance that they won’t hurt us. Honesty is key to trust as well, so it is important to discuss any issues openly and honestly.
This is one of the most problematic behavioral issues that can bring negative emotions into a relationship. We naturally have an anger threshold, and everybody has a different point at which their stress and frustrations turn to anger. Some people have a particularly short fuse, and resort to anger far before other do. Often, anger comes from bottled up tension and frustration that hasn’t been discussed. If you find yourself getting quick to anger, ask yourself if that anger is justified or warranted. Is there a more productive way to address the underlying issue, rather than blowing up? If you find it difficult to be rational while angry, remove yourself from the situation temporarily by going for a brief walk, and then process your thoughts when you’re able to. Anger and alcohol can often go hand in hand with one another – if this applies to you, then it is important that you consider reducing your alcohol intake, and consider anger management therapy to help you learn how to effectively resolve internal conflicts before they become externalized.